Earlier today, Google announced that it’s shutting down Google Reader, its RSS newsfeed service that, while lacking “Web 2.0” “social” flash, was still fairly used by plenty of people. Presumably, Google assumes people will flock to their Flipboard-like program Currents, if not Google+.
Although RSS lacks “social media,” it’s still a useful function. While Twitter and Facebook have their uses, I can’t hover over my Twitter feed all day, lest I miss some interesting news item that flashes by, buried amidst a bunch of other random posts. I also don’t want to manually check every site I go to to see if something’s updated. RSS takes care of both of these needs—new items are automatically listed in an RSS feed, are waiting for me to read at my own leisure, and kept in an organized manner that won’t see news items buried among posts about cat videos/baby pictures/etc. However, since RSS isn’t as advertising lucrative for companies (and it has a slightly geeky tone versus Facebook/Twitter), I can see why it’s being killed by Google. Cue the obligatory “RSS Is Dead” headlines by some tech/mainstream news outlets…
At this point, of course, comes the “what does Anthony suggest to replace Google Reader?” portion of the post. In my case, I need something that works on both my Mac Mini (in OS X) and on my Android smartphone and tablet, so my previous suggestion of Liferea (for Linux) and other stand-alone newsreaders won’t suffice. From a brief online perusal, possible alternatives include:
- NewsBlur: open source-based RSS service, with apps available for Android and iOS devices. A free level of service is offered, while an unlimited service level costs US$1/month.
- Netvibes: I’ve suggested Netvibes in the past as a replacement for the also-shuttered iGoogle portal page. However, it’s a bit more complicated than the others, although it offers Android/iOS functionality.
- Feedly: Feedly is a fairly popular service that offers iOS and Android apps. It displays feeds in a slightly fancier format than the above two services, but seems more toned-down than Flipboard/Currents.
The above services offer web browser access (Feedly requires a Chrome/Firefox plugin), but aren’t open to third-party RSS newsreaders like Google Reader’s service. Which would mean my copy of Reeder for OS X (among the myriad of third-party software tied into Reader) might go unused, though Reeder stated they plan on making their reader fully independent of Google Reader.
I’ll let you know what happens with my RSS situation in the future…